SEPTEMBER 25th - UPDATE - We have updated our original article with a statement from Cryptic Studios about the exploit ban wave.
Players were notified about the exploit and abuse consequences via an official statement from our Community Manager on the ArcGames.com Forums, which was also replicated on Reddit. Exploits such as this one can negatively impact the health of Neverwinter and affects all its players. The exploit is now fixed; players who chose to abuse the Hunts system were in violation of our Terms of Service, so action was taken against them. Any players who would like to dispute actions against their account may contact our Customer Service team.
Cryptic Studios acknowledged on September 12th that there was an exploit in the Neverwinter Barovia Hunts "that bypasses the intended gameplay" and that the company was working to patch the issue as soon as possible. The post further indicated that "any character found using the exploit will be subject to possible actions taken against player accounts as per Terms of Service". It appears that the "actions taken against player accounts" happened over this past weekend.
According to Reddit, NWO-Uncensored and several YouTubers, the exploit has been shut down and has resulted in players being either temporarily or, in some cases, permanently banned." Apparently, the ban wave is very widespread, though many players are reporting that they have received no email or other contact to explain why they have been banned.
The exploit has been around at least several weeks, with Cryptic acknowledging the issue on the 12th after it had become more publicly known. Players believe that it was a low priority bug until that time and that, lasting as long as it did, it almost became a "feature" and became very hard for players to resist even if they are the type who would usually not take advantage of game issues.
Because if an exploit is live for that long, it turns into a feature and it gets increasingly more difficult for legit players to withstand. If everyone is doing it anyway, why bother? Of course Cryptic can always pitch their “Terms of Service” (as they did yesterday) and refer to the fact that exploiting is not allowed. But what’s an exploit fully depends on what Cryptic classifies as such.
It would have been much better to inform players at launch that there is a known Hunt exploit that they better not use. What would be fair now is to only sanction players that did the exploit after their announcement.
YouTuber Mageddo Gaming says that "even people who only did this one or two times" have received permabans with little or no explanation given.
What do you think of the ban wave and the implementation of permabans handed out and the community's reaction? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
We've reached out to Cryptic Studios for comment.
Thanks, anonymous tipster!